On 31 August 2010, a joint initiative was launched for conserving coral reefs around Koh Tao, Suratthani Thailand.
The Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature signed a Letter of Agreement at the Chevron office in SCB Park, Bangkok, to launch this initiative. Mr Pairoj Kaweeyanun, President signed on behalf of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd., while Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, Asia Regional Director, signed on behalf of IUCN. Mr. Adisak Thongkaimook, the Director General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Thailand graced the occasion.
Covering an area of about 21 Km2, Koh Tao Island is located about 70 km east of the coastline between Suratthani and Chumphon, in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is one of 10 top-diving destinations of the world visited by 400,000 people annually. It has been recognized that the island’s ecosystem, including coral reefs which are spread over the area of approximately 1,199.38 rai, is facing serious threats due to unsustainable waste management practices.
This one-year partnership initiative will be the start of improving integrated waste management practices for conserving the island’s ecosystems and promoting participatory approaches to deal with such issues.
IUCN through the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme has been building on a history of coastal management interventions, especially heading the call to continue the momentum and partnerships generated by the immediate post-tsunami response. MFF uses mangroves as a flagship species in recognition of the destruction caused to coastal ecosystems by the tsunami, and addresses issues related to all coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Pairoj Kaweeyanun, the President of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd., stated that the company was committed to achieving their vision of being the best performing oil and gas company, recognized for leading safety and reliability performance as a socially and environmentally responsible company. He further said that Chevron has been continuously supporting a number of CSR programmes in partnership with governments, non governmental organizations and local people under their 4E strategy: Education and youth development, Environmental awareness, Energy conservation and Employee engagement. He added that Chevron’s contribution to this project reaffirms its critical role as the environmental steward of the Gulf of Thailand.
Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, the Regional Director of IUCN Asia, appreciated Chevron’s commitment towards sustainable development and emphasized that the project would serve to mobilize the partnership between the two organizations to collaborate in mainstreaming conservation and social considerations into business not only in Thailand, but also in other countries where Chevron is present. She said that the role of IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity programme was to influence the private sector in realizing their responsibility towards environment, ecosystem values and sustainable development.
Mr. Adisak Thongkaimook, the Director General of Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) said that the DMCR would like to see this collaboration grow into a longer term relationship. He also emphasized the importance of the project which aims at taking action for integrated coastal zone management. He hoped that the project will be seen as a model for show casing best practices not only in Thailand, but also in other countries.
For more details about the project, please contact:
Ms. Radda Larpnun, Programme Officer, IUCN Thailand Programme